Uncle Jasper reviews: Madman (1982)

Starring Gaylen Ross, Tony Fish, Harriet Bass, Seth Jones, Jan Claire, Jimmy Steele, Carl Fredericks, Paul Ehlers

Directed By Joe Giannone


Forced to live in the shadow of Friday the 13th since its original release in 1982, it only takes one viewing to realize that Madman is hands-down the superior film. Not to brazenly shit on the legendary long-running horror franchise, but there is a reason this obscure slasher film was gobbled up on DVD and went quickly out of print when Anchor Bay took a chance on its re-release a few years back. The same can’t be said for Friday the 13th which still waddles away, buried deep in the $5 DVD bin at your local Wal-Mart™.

Popping this disc in instantly takes me back in time to the horror aisles of old mom and pop run video rental shops of the 1980s. Gone were the wall-to-wall piles of new releases that are found in most present day franchises. Hidden behind the sun-faded Freddy Krueger cutouts and below the thumb-tacked Toxic Avenger poster with its curling edges and scotch-tape repaired tears would lay rows upon rows of obscure, low-budget horror films. They were propped up meticulously in their shiny cellophane wrappers with that block of foam jammed inside the box to keep it from flattening. Every Friday visit to the rental store was like a treasure hunt. My dad would carefully float down the aisles grabbing pretty much anything that looked at least somewhat interesting. We would take home stacks of long forgotten classics like Chopping Mall, C.H.U.D., Night of the Demons, and Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night 2. Some of these films would be deemed worthy of second or third rentals. But I don’t think my dad rented any film as much as Madman, which probably saw more time playing inside our top-loading VCR than it did sitting on that shelf in the video store.

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